When it Comes to Company Culture, What Really Matters?

Company culture is one of those intangible business concepts that is difficult to define.

But that doesn’t mean plenty of people haven’t tried. Forbes contributor William Craig says, “Company culture is something that is pre-existing in your company’s genetic code; it’s not something that employees bring with them.” Michael C. Mankins of Harvard Business Review defines it by its value: “Culture plays a vital role in performance. Winning cultures… foster an environment that is conducive to generating the best possible results.”

The truth is, each company defines culture differently because each company has its own. For example, Marstudio’s culture was created and nurtured by Chief Marketing Officer and Partner, Shevy Shafie, but it is only complete with the input of the Marstudio team. In this post, I will offer a sneak peek into the culture of Marstudio, from a teammate’s perspective.

I take a two-pronged approach to defining company culture. First, on an academic level, culture is the values and practices that are shared by a community – in this case, a company. However, when describing the culture of Marstudio, I must speak from the heart. At Marstudio it’s about the atmosphere. Each employee brings a piece of him- or herself into the culture, and together, we create a shared environment in which we all participate.

The tone of Marstudio’s culture is set by our leader, Shevy, as well as Creative Director and Founder, Sam Rooeintan. From that foundation, the rest of the team puts the culture into action through individual work ethics, co-worker interactions, and client relations. While an overall culture exists, each person at Marstudio provides vital input to that culture.

Shevy’s open communication style is an important piece of the company culture. He articulates what he values in the organization, as well as what he values in each of his employees. This value creates an atmosphere of positivity that penetrates the organization. At Marstudio we seek and attract people who are positive and are invested in the future of the company, which contributes to its success.

Encouraging risk-taking is another aspect of the Marstudio culture. Recently, we took a whitewater rafting trip in West Virginia to challenge ourselves and foster teamwork – and to have some fun.

One of the most memorable parts of the trip was when we approached a 30-foot rock ledge from which people jump into the river below. Every member of the Marstudio team summoned up the courage to take the risk of jumping – even Shevy, who is afraid of heights! Plenty of others were scared of jumping, too, but we overcame those fears as a team.

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Every company can benefit from a strong culture, just as we at Marstudio do. Drawing from my experience as part of Marstudio’s team, I suggest that organizations begin by clearly articulating what they want their culture to be. To be successful, everyone on the team needs to be on the same page.

Once the vision has been defined, it is time to determine the exact steps that will make that vision a reality. Maybe it comes in the form of expectations from each employee, or perhaps it is best communicated by showing, rather than telling. Whichever approach you take, building a strong culture is a team effort. Culture is a living thing made up from each employee and each employee brings a part of themselves to that culture.

When it comes to company culture, a team effort is required to create and nurture an environment that fosters success. But, effective cultures always have a strong, passionate leader at the helm. I think we have to thank Shevy for being the visionary and making Marstudio’s culture what it is.

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